Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Tag: gear Page 1 of 4

Jan-Feb 2021

It’s been low miles on the bike with continued improvements on the running.

Goose has over 4600 miles on it now. I’m still amazed at how well this “cheap” “department store” bike has served my purposes. We (Goose and I) had one wipe-out this winter when we hit a spot of black ice on a turn. The bike fared well but the body suffered a few setbacks with some bruising on the legs, hip, shoulder, and arm. The longest repair was the ankle. Even though I was wearing above the ankle leather boots, the foot must have twisted or extended enough to do some damage. It was at least 4 weeks or slow going on that ankle. This was complicated further by the fact I couldn’t ride due to the slippery conditions, so I went into the slow-jog mode. I didn’t care about time, I just wanted to move!

I consider myself very blessed to be able to run again. I’m still slow and averaging a 9:45 mile. While I was recovering the ankle and there was snow and ice on the roads, I was averaging 11:00/mile. In spite of all that, I have ran over 9 miles two or three times now. I’m pumped about that!

Jan-Feb 2021 Stats

I took the plunge and purchased a multi-sport watch at the end of January. It arrived in early February. I went with the Garmin Venu SQ.

I like it! Previously, I was using three devices to track my activities. I had the Garmin Vivofit 1 for walking/steps, the Garmin Forerunner 10 for running, and the Garmin Forerunner 25 for cycling. Technically, the Forerunners are for “running” so I had to convert the activity manually from running to cycling. Not ideal, but workable. Now I simply select my activity when I start and it records properly all by itself, plus I only have to work with one device for charging, syncing, care, etc.

I have been able to charge the Venu SQ once a week with the settings I’ve enabled. There are many options (very many) that can affect performance and battery life. I like where things are as the Venu SQ is able to find the satellites quickly and has recorded activities without error.

There are many customization features on the Venu SQ as well, I was able to create my own custom watch face and select which elements I wanted to be on my at-a-glance display. Nice! The image below is just a few of what others have created. I’ve gone old-school crossover with an analog timepiece (yes, hands) and data fields of battery, date, temp, and heartrate.

Sample Venu watch face options

There are many more features with Apps and Widgets that I haven’t even explored.

It’s early March as I write this and the morning temperature has been closer to 40 F which allows me to expand back out into the country without fearing freezing to death in the event of an injury or equipment failure.

This morning’s bike route wasn’t anything extreme but nice to get out of town. I was fortunate to run into one of the other outdoor runners on his route and finally slowed down to chat a few seconds. I’m always encouraged when I come across others working on their health regimen.

Until next time, I hope you keep working on you.

The new helmet has arrived!

My Bell helmet isn’t bad, however, as much as I wear a helmet, a few extra features are appreciated.

There are many times where some eye protection would be awesome and wearing sunglasses on the bike requires the regular pushing-up of the glasses as they slide down my nose. I finally took the plunge into an option with a magnetic snap-on shield/goggle. The Victgoal was well-reviewed and within a reasonable price range. Here it is:

GOGGLES BIKE HELMET W/ LED LAMP & VISOR

I’m excited to see how it works on a multi-mile trek under different lighting conditions. I did purchase an extra clear shield/goggle for those darker times of the year.

There are two other features that I appreciate with the Victgoal and those are the LED rear light (very bright) with an extra battery included, and the interior mesh netting over the front air passages. I can’t tell you the number of times I had bugs or small rocks land in those holes. This mesh will prevent yet another stop along the route to clear whatever is irritating my head. I suppose a third feature is the nice storage bag included, although I wear it almost year-round so it may not be in the bag often.

December 2019 updates

There’s a fine line between wisdom and zeal. I ran 2 miles today. Slow, but a run nonetheless. It actually felt pretty good on the knees, this is where wisdom comes in. After being over zealous in September and making the decision to try a 6-mile run too soon after an injury which left me without running for three months I may have learned my lesson.

The desire to run longer and farther was there this morning, but the discipline of the last few months had me stop at two-miles and go for a bike ride to complete my workout.

Speaking of the bike(s), I’m learning more about the care-and-feeding of a bike and had to replace the bottom bracket bearing set on Goose after 1900 miles or so. Previously, I had not worked this extensively on a bicycle so it was new territory in parts and tools. The Internet is always helpful when learning new things so after learning about it I ordered the parts and tools. Things came together pretty well and I was able to get Goose back in action.

While Goose was down and out waiting for repair I purchased a cheap bike from Walmart I named Kermit (see Goose and Kermit below). It’s a long story, but I would have to agree with the majority of the Internet concerning the “Walmart bike” as they really don’t know how to assemble them well. Perhaps I’ll do a separate post about the department store bike experience.

Kermit helped bridge the gap while Goose was down and now I’m thankful to have a backup bike when necessary. You may be thinking, isn’t that expensive to have two bikes? Kermit was $110 and Goose was $170. My shoe expense was about $125 a quarter when I was running every day, so I didn’t see this as an outlandish expense. Perhaps I do rationalize and say these costs are quite a bit cheaper than my copay at the physicians office was starting to accumulate before I decided to take control of my health, so there are other ways to think about it. 🙂

So I’m back to riding Goose when the roads are decent and I’m full of gratitude to ride and run this much in December as it’s been a mild month here in the Midwest.

1st below freezing ride of 2019

It was great to go for a bike ride after several days of rainy and blustery conditions. Walking is alright, but you really can’t get an aerobic workout very easily. Obviously, there are obstacles and challenges to deal with riding a bike in cold weather. Clothing seems to take the longest to get right.

I opted to layer cotton and polyester with one layer being a thicker thermal shirt, then the outer shell being my Work-n-Sport coat then finally my reflective shirt. With a scarf around my neck and a thin hat under the helmet, it actually worked pretty well. I was cold at first, but within a mile or so I had generated enough heat around the torso to expand the ride outside of town and into the fields a few miles.

With two pair of socks on in my leather boots and wind pants, the lower body remained reasonably comfortable. The toes did a little complaining after about 10 miles, but weren’t brutally cold. I’m not exactly a fitness magazine model, but I’m able to keep riding a bit longer outside, for which I am grateful!

Learning to stay warm on a bike

I felt I had a pretty good handle on staying warm while running in the cold, but I’ve not got it down while riding the bike. Too hot, too cold, too drafty, too sweaty, cold fingers, cold toes, etc. And it’s not even that cold yet!

The toes are a repeat problem. I’ve yet to keep them warm a complete ride. I’ve tried different shoe and sock combinations with little success but I will keep on trying.

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